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Radio Wins as First Choice in Car. But …

Among younger crowd, YouTube dominates as new music source

Music matters. (As if you didn’t already know.) And the ways in which listeners are keeping up with music continues to evolve.

The 2017 Infinite Dial reports some good news for the radio industry when it comes to the successful marriage of AM/FM radio and the automobile.

But when it comes to keeping young music lovers in touch with what’s new, watch out: YouTube is crushing traditional radio.

The 2017 Infinite Dial Report found that the primary audio source used in the car is the radio, with 82% of those surveyed listening to AM/FM radio every month in their vehicles. CDs listening is at 52% every month, followed by digital music at 45% and online radio at 26% (which includes online AM/FM streaming or internet-only radio from a mobile device). Satellite radio squeaks in at 22%, followed by podcasts at 19%.

Over the last four years, according to the survey, traditional radio listening has remained steady, although it has dropped from a four-year high of 86% in 2014 down to 82% in 2017. Satellite radio has seen some growth during that four-year span: 17% of listeners tuned into on satellite radio in 2014 compared with 22% this year.

Radio also dominates in another area: as the audio source most often used in a car. Sixty percent of the time, listeners choose AM/FM radio, followed by CDs (17%), satellite radio (11%) and online radio (8%).

However, new technologies are grabbing attention, particularly when it comes to the ways that listeners keep up to date on new music. The top two technologies that listeners 12 and up use to stay up to date on music are YouTube (64%) and AM/FM radio (63%). Approximately 48% of listeners use Pandora to keep up to date on music, compared with 25% for satellite radio and 15% for online music blogs.

But when it comes to the younger crowd, all bets are off. When listeners aged 12–24 want to keep up to date with new music, 80% of them are turning on the computer and watching YouTube. Compare that to only 50% of kiddos (even those 24-year-old so-called kiddos) who are listening to AM/FM radio to stay up to speed.

Be aware of YouTube’s influence. When asked the question, “Have you used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music?” more than 90% of young listeners in that 12–24 bracket said “yes.”